Clovis News: Sports

City does it all in high school All-Star Game

Brandon Pizzo was really hoping to hit a home run at Chukchansi Park.

"It would've been nice," the Memorial High senior said with a laugh.

Instead, Pizzo had to settle for a triple and a double, both of which drove in runs and helped lift the City to an 8-2 victory Sunday night in the City/County All-Star Game.

Pizzo's big hits, stellar baserunning and a parade of shutdown pitchers were more than enough for the City in this annual showcase of recently graduated high school seniors.

And for one evening at least, former rivals turned teammates were united in a common cause.

"It's a big deal because the guys that we've hated our whole lives on the field, now we're on the same team," said Clovis West's J.D. Salles, the eighth and final pitcher employed by City coach Kevin Patrick.

"It's a battle on the field all year, and now we get to play with each other. It was a lot of fun."

More so for the City squad than the County, which trailed 6-0 after the third inning and managed just two hits. City starter Sean Silva (Clovis West) set the tone with two scoreless innings, and Zack Coy (Clovis) followed suit with two stellar innings of his own.

"We knew on paper we had a pretty good group of pitchers we could run out there," Patrick said. "They showed us they were pretty good competitors."

After County starter Haden Hinkle (Madera) pitched a 1-2-3 first, the City all-stars touched him up for three runs in the second on four hits.

Nate Dalena (Memorial) got the rally started with a sharp single past third base and came around to score when Pizzo sliced a line drive down the right-field line that landed just inside the chalk.

Dalena scored from first, and Pizzo cruised into third base with a triple. He wasn't there long. Following a one-out walk to LaBronze Sanderson (Bullard), Silva dunked a single over the outstretched glove of shortstop Andrew Rich (Washington) for a 2-0 City lead.

Cody White (Clovis) made it 3-0 with an opposite-field single to left to drive in Sanderson.

"They got a couple big hits and a couple bloopers fell in for them," Rich said. "Once they got runners on, they found ways to get them in."

The City all-stars used their speed, and extra-base hits by Pizzo and Sanderson, to pad their lead in the third.

Seth Batty (Buchanan) drew a leadoff walk from reliever Brandon Martinez (Fowler), promptly stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch.

After Dalena drew a one-out walk, pinch-runner Marquise Cooper (Edison) stole second and third and scored on Pizzo's double that landed on the left-field warning track. Pizzo then scored on Sanderson's double up the left-center field gap.

"I didn't think it was going to go out," Pizzo said. "This park is a lot bigger than a high school field."

Down 6-0, the County didn't crack the scoreboard until the sixth. Rene Ortiz (Central) scored on a wild pitch, and Rich drove in Fil Navarro (Central) with a sacrifice fly.

City got those runs back in the eighth on a two-run double by Nick Armenta (Clovis East). Armenta also had a tremendous running catch in center.

"In a few years, these guys probably won't remember the final score," County coach Mark Jensen said. "But they'll remember how they came together as a team and had fun doing it."

And when they got home, players on both sides peeled off their high school uniforms for the last time.

"My last high school game ever ..." said Silva, his voice trailing off. "It really hasn't sunk in yet."